BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A local Paralympian runner with hydrocephalus who had to give up competing is now dedicated to helping others.
Karsten Brogan, 25, was born with a congenital condition also known as “water on the brain,” in which cerebrospinal fluid is present inside the skull and can build up. His mother says only the left side of his brain was present at birth.
“Having that, I can’t really do contact sports; which eliminates football, lacrosse, and any other major real manly boy sports that any other guy would play,” Brogan said.
Instead, Brogan developed a love and talent for running and competed in the 2013 Paralympics Championships, where he won gold in the 400 meter and bronze in the 100 meter and shotput. Seven years and more than two dozen surgeries later, including one to place a shunt in his brain, Brogan had to give it all up.
“You are on top of the world, you’re running at the world Paralympic Championship, and all of a sudden you’re in the hospital,” said Brogan.
“To be completely transparent, coming from a teenager’s point of view, it was really kind of crappy. It was like a blow cause it was kinda like I wanna do something but I can’t because of how I am.”
He is now an author of his own book, Dare to be Courageous, studying theology, and working at Willis Knighton hospital, where he has had surgery before. His job is to talk with patients who might have the same condition as himself and provide the kind of comfort he received.
“People that would always come get me would always talk to me or come hang out with me and everything like that was fun. To have that one on one interaction with them and the chance at being the smile or that chance at praying with them or hearing about their day. I’ve had patience just on rides that open up to me out of nowhere.”
His parents said doctors told them his brain would never develop and he would never have a normal life.
“To see what he’s walked through to get where he’s at is definitely a testimony within itself,” said his father, Bob Brogan.
“He loves to share his life story from the paralympics to where he is at today being close to the Bible, college graduation, share his book, share his testimony and his life story, that’s his passion,” said Karsten’s mother, Karen.
Karsten said he wants to be a voice for the ministry and for those who have the same condition.
“It’s not that you are different, you’re destined for something someone else can’t do but you,” Karsten said.